Tactical Overview: Insurgents vs. Frontrunners Online

As part of an excellent Tech Daily series that National Journal opened to non-subscribers today, one article looks at differences in the ways lower- and higher-tier presidential candidates use the web. You often hear that candidates can take more risks when they’re behind in the polls — in fact, they have to — and this cycle’s presidential campaigns follow the customary pattern, with Mike Gravel blogging on Huffington Post and Ron Paul benefiting from an upwelling of online support. One extra observation from IPDI’s Julie Barko Germany jumped out at me: “Though candidates with higher name recognition like Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. and John McCain, R-Ariz., use the Internet as a significant part of their outreach, their use of the technology appeals more to core supporters than undecided voters.”

Excellent distinction: site features such as MyMcCain (dreamed up when McCain was a leading candidate) and MyObama are designed to build relationships with existing supporters rather than to draw new ones, where Gravel’s blogging, Tancredo’s aggressive video outreach and Richardson’s TV ads touting his website are intended to connect with new supporters. Though let’s not go too far with this: keep in mind that some top-tier candidates HAVE invested in search and display ads online, for example.

More from the Tech Daily series, including a detailed look at the different candidates’ technology-related platforms.


Written by
Colin Delany
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